Friday, 28 August 2009

Fresh Milk

Thank you all for joining me for Book Week. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. To conclude the festivities I thought I would tell you about the last great book I read - Fresh Milk: the secret life of breasts.

It was suggested to me because the highly personal subject of breastfeeding is shared through anonymous anecdotes, in the same way I aim to share the stories of the stepmothers I have been speaking with.

The subject matter also appealed to me because I am interested in the ways women feel and express their maternal instinct. So many women talk about feeling the most motherly and the most feminine they ever have while they breastfed. What interests me is how mothers feel and express their maternal sides if they didn't give birth to their kids.

I loved this book. From cover to cover. It's respectful, wise, considerate, informative and funny. The story topics range from the practicality of feeding triplets, to men who lactate to feed their babies, cooking with breastmilk, buying a maternity bra, weaning, and women who choose not to breastfeed.

This book is like The Vagina Monologues of breasts, and even mimics some of the sections from that book: If your breasts could speak what would they say? If breastfeeding were a place, what would it look like? I learned so much from so many women and even though I have never breastfed my child, I never felt excluded. On the contrary. I felt particularly included, especially when the mothers spoke of the valuable role played by others in the nurturing of their offspring:
Effective parenting is not tenable alone, nor even through the cooperative liaison of two loving parents. It is a web spun by a far-flung constellation of people, working together to weave the cat's cradle that make a child's life possible.

4 comments:

Kate said...

Great book! I read it almost 6 years ago and still remember so much of it now. Jasmine ordered it for our library.

Umatji said...

Aaah - a book for my times! i am fascinated by how despite the fact that k is out of my body - he still is in charge of my breasts - has a direct line to make them work - even from another room!

toasted said...

For me, breastfeeding was one of the intense ways to love the ones you parent - but there are definitely others. I get a gut-lurching sensation of love and care and protection for my children that is just as bodily as breastfeeding. I'm sure step-parents can know that feeling.

Midwives For President; said...

Since i am mentioned i would hasten to add, my favourite new others i would add would be 'Breastwork' & 'Birthwars' both so relevant.